There’s a push in the West Wing to fire those responsible for the damaging leaks and media scrutiny — and it has Oval Office leakers on-edge.
Nearly a week after staffer Kelly Sadler was rumored to have dismissed Sen. John McCain’s opinion on Trump’s CIA nominee during a closed-door meeting by allegedly saying “he’s dying anyway,” a torrent of criticism has rained down on the White House.
Now reports have surfaced that communication staffers are preparing for a major purge of disloyal leakers that could be coming soon.
3 foods that help your blood pressure [sponsored]
Leaks have long been a problem for President Donald Trump’s White House, but this one has drawn particular scrutiny within the building because of the staying power of the damaging story. Several senior officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, have called closed-door meetings to warn junior staffers that a shake-up could be in the offing.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to work for the president and to be part of his administration. And anybody who betrays that I think is a total and complete coward and they should be fired,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week. “We’ve fired people over leaking before.”
Rumors have been circulating over who is responsible for the leak, and chatter about nervous aides looking for the exits has picked up.
Trump has insisted the reports of leaking are exaggerated, but he also suggested in a provocative tweet this week that those who do so are “traitors.”
The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
National security adviser John Bolton said that some leakers were “national security risks” and that Kelly was organizing an effort to cut them down.
“The president has to have advisers around him who can have open, candid discussions and then not read about him the next day in the newspapers or watch them on television,” Bolton told Fox News Radio.
Conway said Thursday that she knew the identity of some of the leakers but did not say what repercussions might be forthcoming.
Breaking: A revolutionary cancer cure [sponsored]
She told Fox News that there is “99.8 percent of the information some of us know in this place that never gets leaked.”
Sanders called a heated communications staff meeting last week to discuss the Sadler incident, during which Sadler received the support of several staffers, including Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communication.
Schlapp has been a candidate to become communications director, a post that has been open since the resignation of Hope Hicks, a departure that some White House staffers believe has further eroded morale.
Schlapp’s husband, Matt, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, says a senior staff must have honest conversations without worrying that the information is going to be made public.
Leaks, he said, “can be used as a weapon to take out people you don’t like, rivals on the staff. And at the end, it really destroys the ability of the president to push hard on his agenda because everything is distracted.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.